WATCH Russian Soyuz rocket take off with 36 British-built satellites in launch commemorating Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight


A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying 36 satellites, produced by the British firm OneWeb, has successfully blasted off from Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East. Its payload is poised to help expand global internet coverage.

The rocket departed at 7.14am local time (10:14pm GMT) on Sunday. Its launch went off without a hitch, with all stages detaching according to the planned schedule. Later, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, confirmed that the 36 satellites had successfully separated from the carrier.

“The mission is successful. Congratulations!” Rogozin tweeted.

OneWeb also confirmed that all its satellites are on the way to their operational orbit, adding that it will provide more information about their final positions as soon as it becomes available.

Earlier this month, OneWeb said that it will be dedicating the launch to the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first trip around Earth, which was celebrated on April 12.

“We’re commemorating this achievement by revealing that we’re marking our 6th Launch with Yuri Gagarin on the mission patch,” the company revealed in a Twitter post.

Sunday’s launch is the sixth time a Russian Soyuz rocket has orbited a payload for OneWeb as part of an ambitious project to put a constellation of 650 satellites into space in order to boost global internet coverage.



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